Heidi instructs the designers to meet me in the workroom where I announce that for this challenge they will be designing for each other. Furthermore, they will each be assigned a musical genre: pop, rock & roll, country, punk, or hip hop. The designer who designs for them will have to embrace that genre and create an appropriate persona.
The designers have an hour for a consultation. Then, we go shopping at MOOD where they each have a budget of $150. And there is one day for this challenge.
The incomparable LL Cool J is our guest judge! How amazing is that?
Korto WINS! She designs for Suede's punk persona and, together, she and he bring down the metaphorical house; that is, her design and execution were fabulous AND Suede really rocked this look -- he was menacing and truly punked out. I must be truthful and admit that I wasn't enthusiastic about the top - an athletic looking textile of gray mini-mesh with some organic leather forms appliqued - but the judges loved it, thankfully. I was wowed, however, by her treatment of the jeans, which she splattered with bleach to create a very unique look, and she treated the black Converse sneakers in the same manner. The look was cohesive, the hair and makeup were huge enhancements, and she - and he - ruled the runway. Congratulations, Korto!
Suede is OUT. His design for Jerell's rock & roll persona fell flat, regrettably. Frankly, the black skinny pants with the exaggerated fly zipper, the tie-dyed plunging top, and the leather (pleather?) patchwork vest simply didn't stretch the theme far enough. In fact, Jerell looked like he looks every day. Even the judges remarked, "He [Jerell] doesn't look as good as he does every day." Furthermore, Suede invested an enormous amount of time in the pants, which had a dramatic texture created through the use of horizontal cutouts, but that detail was lost on the runway. In addition, owing to the extra tight fit of the pants, they looked more like leggings. Suede, what happened to the rock & roll?
Jerell designs for Kenley's pop persona. His black mesh mini-dress with a spangly bust and under-skirt indisputably resonated pop. Over this was a purple faux fur vest/shrug that served as icing on the cake. Add to this the perfect hair, makeup, and accessories and you had a look that competed for the win. As Jerell declared, Kenley was "Kenley Spears!" Indeed, she was.
Kenley designs for Leanne's hip-hop persona. What didn't Kenley understand? High-waisted jeans, and demure floral print tank, and a shrunken leather jacket? How did this look say hip-hop? Furthermore, any of the items could have been purchased in "anywhere mall," today. I tried to give her some constructive feedback, but she pushed back with unbridled resistance. Therefore, it was with more than a little satisfaction that I listened to LL Cool J take her down a few pegs. Kenley, please mind your game.
Leanne designs for Korto's country persona. This look reminded me of Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun (which is amusing in these days of Sarah Palin!). Leanne created a full-length skirt in black (which read as chocolate on the runway), a sleeveless fuchsia western-style shirt with yoke detail and tied at the waist, and wide gold belt, and a black-and-white gingham print scarf tied around her neck. Her look was beautifully executed, but it fell short of her intention: to make Korto into a country music STAR. Had there been more drama and flare, then her look would have been a contender for the win.